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Americans Shall Rule America


Pen and ink on paper political cartoon of "Americans Shall Rule America", c. 1856-1860, by an unknown artist. In the 1850s, and lead up to the Civil War (1861-1865), a nativist political movement, aggressive towards new immigrants and African Americans, emerged under the "Know-Nothing" or "American" political party. In 1856, Thomas Swann (1809-1883), a former Baltimore & Ohio (B&O) Railroad president and investor, ran for Mayor of the City of Baltimore on this platform, and won. The election of 1856, and subsequent campaigns in 1857-1859, were fraught with voter intimidation, voter fraud, and manipulation, as well as violence between competing mobs, political gangs, and the Maryland National Guard. Swann left the party and the office of the mayor in 1860. He later went on to serve as a Governor of Maryland (1866-1869) and the U.S. House of Representatives (1869-1879), including periods as a democrat and republican.



circa 1856-1860


Pen and ink on paper


10.43 x 9.125 inches

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Digital resource provided by the Maryland Center for History and Culture


This digital image is made available here for private study, scholarship, and research. Commercial and other uses are prohibited without the permission of the Maryland Center for History and Culture. For more information, visit the MCHC’s Reproductions and Permissions web page.